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The Scottish Nation

GLAS, JOHN, Rev., founder of the sect of Glasites, son of Rev. Alexander Glas, of a Stirling family, at one time minister of Auchtermuchty, Fifeshire, was born September 21, 1698. He received the rudiments of his education at Kinclaven, Perthshire, to which parish his father was translated in 1697, and at the grammar school of Perth. After studying at the universities of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and being licensed by the presbytery of Perth, he was ordained minister of the parish of Tealing, near Dundee. He soon became a popular preacher, but maintaining principles directly contrary to the standards of the established church, he laid himself open to the notice and censure of the ecclesiastical courts. In 1727 he published a treatise, entitled ‘The Testimony of the King of Martyrs,’ the object of which was to prove that a state establishment of religion is inconsistent with Christianity. For this and other errors he was deposed by the synod of Angus and Mearns on April 12, 1728. Removing to Dundee, he formed there the first congregation of his peculiar sect, from him called Glasites, and afterwards in England styled Sandemanians, from Mr. Glas’ son-in-law, Mr. Robert Sandeman, who adopted his doctrines to a modified extent.

      In 1733 Mr. Glas left Dundee and went to Perth, where he erected a chapel, and formed a small congregation, which he styled a church, it being one of his favourite notions that every separate meeting of worshiping Christians constitutes a church within itself. In 1739 the General Assembly, among other strange acts, removed the sentence of deposition passed against him, so far as to restore him to his status as a minister of the gospel, though not to that of a minister of the church of Scotland, until he should have made a solemn renunciation of the peculiar doctrines which he held. But as he was sincere in his opinions, he maintained and advocated them to the last. He wrote a great number of controversial tracts, which were published at Edinburgh, in 1762, in 4 vols, 8vo. Mr. Glas died at Dundee, in 1773, aged 75. By his wife, Catharine Black, a daughter of the Rev. Mr. Black of Perth, he had fifteen children, all of whom he survived. One of his sons, Thomas, who was a bookseller in Dundee, became pastor of the congregation which his father had first formed there, but died in the prime of life of a fever. Either Thomas, or a brother of his, who died in early youth, wrote ‘The River Tay, a Fragment.’

GLAS, JOHN, called also George, an enterprising but unfortunate mariner, son of the preceding, was born at Dundee in 1725. He was educated for the medical profession, and went several voyages to the West Indies in the capacity of surgeon; but afterwards became captain of a merchant vessel belonging to London, and was employed in the trade to the Brazils. He wrote, in one volume 4to, an interesting ‘Description of Teneriffe, with the Manners and Customs of the Portuguese settled there,’ which was published by Dodsley in 1764. Being engaged by a company in London to attempt forming a settlement on the coast of Africa, he went out, taking with him his wife and daughter; but soon after his arrival he was seized by the Spaniards, while his men were murdered, and his vessel plundered of al that it contained. He was kept a prisoner for some time, but at last he contrived, by concealing a note written in pencil, in a loaf of bread, to communicate his situation to the British consul, who immediately interfered, when he obtained his liberty. In 1765 he set sail with his wife and daughter on their return to England. On board the vessel which he commanded, all his property was embarked, as well as a considerable amount of specie; which induced four of the crew to enter into a conspiracy to seize the ship. They put their design in execution as they came in sight of the coast of Ireland. Hearing a noise on deck, Captain Glas hastened up from the cabin, but was stabbed in the back by one of the mutineers, who was lurking below, and almost immediately expired. Mrs. Glas and her daughter implored mercy in vain; they were thrown overboard locked in each other’s arms. Besides these, the mate, one seaman, and two boys, lost their lives. The villains then loaded one of the boats with the money chests, and having sunk the ship, landed at Ross, but being soon after apprehended, they confessed the crime, and were accordingly executed in October 1765.

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